What’s Your Answer?

2 Corinthians Overview, Cont’d: What’s Your Answer?blogmistake-1966448__340

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!

Or do you not recognize this about yourselves,

that Jesus Christ is in you—unless in deed you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5(NASB95)

In Monday’s post, “Test Time!” the question posed for thought concerned what kind of questions you would expect on this test. One question I would ask is, “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?

It has to cover more than simple belief for we are told—

“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19

John’s Gospel uses the word believe over 100 times, which is close to half the times it’s used in the New Testament.* Believing is a vital component in knowing Jesus Christ is in us. Yet, we all can agree the demons are definitely not in Christ nor is He in them. So, what in believing is needed to bring us into the assurance we are in Christ and Christ is in us?

  • “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord,
  • and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,

you shall be saved,

  • for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness,
  • and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9,10.

Yes, the demons even confessed Jesus to be the Holy One, but not their Lord. They knew and know the facts concerning Jesus, but they are not saved. For their heart, their allegiance is not to Him. Believing with the heart results in righteousness. They are far from righteous.

“He(God the Father) made Him who knew no sin(Jesus Christ)

to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him.”

(2 Corinthians 5:21, words in parenthesis added by author for clarification)

And from our heart comes the conviction of truth that leads to salvation.

“for if we live, we live for the Lord,

or if we die, we die for the Lord;

therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

For to this end Christ died and lived again,

that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

Romans 14:8-9.

The demons remain and will remain devoid of what it takes for salvation. For salvation lies in a new heart. One which has been raised from death to life.

“But God, being rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us,

even when we were dead in our transgressions,

made us alive together with Christ

(by grace you have been saved),

and raised us up with Him,

and seated us with Him in the heavenly places,

in Christ Jesus …”

Ephesians 2:4-6

A heart made pure.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8;

  • “Beloved, now we are children of God,
  • and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be.
  • We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him,
  • because we shall see Him just as He is.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him

purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

1 John 3:2,3.

How can we know we are in Christ? John writes—

“Little children,

let us not love with word or with tongue,

but in deed and truth.

We shall know by this that we are of the truth,

and shall assure our heart before Him.”

1 John 3:18,19

Returning to the beginning of this post, what is your answer to the question “What does this test cover?” My beliefs? My works? My heart? Or all of the above?  My answer—all of the above with the heart being at the core and summed up in Matthew’s gospel when he writes—

“Jesus said unto him,

THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD

WITH ALL THY HEART,

AND WITH ALL THY SOUL,

AND WITH ALL THY MIND …

THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.”

 (Matthew 22:37,39b; KJV)

For Thought: Who owns your heart? The word prove/examine is a word requiring evidence. What’s your evidence?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, how great is your love for us that you would give us your Son to die in our place. May we never lose sight of the love that bought our salvation. No matter what the day brings help us remember the cross proves your love, the resurrection proves your faithfulness. May our works be such as comes from a pure heart of  love for you. Amen.


*Source: “A Study of Believing and Love in John’s Gospel” by Patrick Sullivan, found at https://collected.jcu.edu

The Impossible Heart of Love

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…” Matt. 22:37a.blogheart-159637__340

The latter part of this verse explains the meaning behind the commandment. To love God with “all thy heart” encompasses all that makes you, you; your soul and your mind. Humanly this is impossible. For, we are born with an unclean heart.

“For there is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good, and sinneth not… Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” (Ecc. 7:20; Prov. 20:9).

And as the heart is so follows the soul and the mind.

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”Ezek. 18;4.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen. 6:5.

The unclean heart manifests sin in the soul and not only imagines evil thoughts but carries them out. God does not give us a command and leave us unable to follow it. He will give us a clean, new heart, one filled with His love enabling us to love as He loves.

“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

The one who cries out…”Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me… The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Ps. 51:1,2,10,17.

The one who can say along with the Corinthians…”And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1Cor. 6:11.

The one who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb of God…”And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be gory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Rev. 1:5,6.

The impossible commandment has been made possible.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” 1John 4:19.

Praying, “…the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ…Keep yourselves in the love of God looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”(2Thess. 3:5; Jude 21).

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Matt. 22:37, Luke 1:37.)

 

 

 

 

The Heart of the Matter

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”Luke 6:45.blogheart-2028062__340

We started the New Year looking for the abundance of God, the fullness of God in you.

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”

The fullness of God abides in Christ and He in His followers through the Holy Spirit. All He is, except being God, He has given to His followers through the Holy Spirit.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20.

Many times we speak of this as Christ living in our hearts, coming into our hearts. But what is this thing we call the heart? It’s definitely more than the organ that pumps our blood. It’s more than the cute sentiments found on all the little red hearts floating around this week. When the Bible speaks of the heart of man, we are taken to the depths, the totality of what makes a person the person he/she is.

“For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:43-45.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his hearth bringeth forth that which is good… Treasures of…righteousness delivereth from death… The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life… In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found… The tongue of the just is as choice silver… The lips of the righteous feed many… The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom…The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable…”( Prov. 10:2b; 11a; 13a; 20a; 21a; 31a; 32a).

 “…and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil… Treasures of wickedness profit nothing… but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked… but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction… the heart of the wicked is little worth… fools die for want of wisdom… the froward tongue shall be cut out… the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” (Prov.10: 2a; 11b;14b; 20b; 21b;31b;32b)

“…for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh…Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” James 3:9-12.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”Prov. 4:23.

What is your heart speaking? Blessing or cursing? Treasures of life or treasures of death?

Father, instead of guarding the tongue, may we guard our hearts that our tongues will be guided by our hearts filled with you.